Teaching the World to Dance


Screenplay by by Stephen Beresford.

I laughed. I cried.

Two scenes were standout. Jonathan Blake (played by Dominic West) dance number. It's on fire. A rousing rendition of Bread and Roses. Simply stirring.

Why would such a film arouse such emotion?
Margaret Thatcher
Miners' Strike
Lesbians and Gays
Shadow of AIDS

David Denby in The New Yorker concludes

During the past thirty years, gays have fought their way toward greater equality, but the miners, who were defeated in the 1984-85 strike, have, like other union workers in England and the United States, continued to lose power. “Pride” ends on a note of triumph, but it leaves a long sigh of regret in its wake. Solidarity rarely outlasts the grinding movements of money and power.
He faults the film for not pointing out the irony. I chafe at the suggestion.

The Federation of International Employers tells a slightly different story. Decline in trade union membership in Western Europe but
Many of the regions where trade unionism has grown have been production centres for outsourced goods and services. As the supply of available skilled labour in Asia and South America declines workers have begun to assert their economic power. [This has] been strengthened by improvements in communications via the social media – which have made it much easier to organise industrial action. This has become such a problem that China has been forced to introduce legal restrictions on “the use of the Internet to disturb social order”.

In Canada need I mention Unifor? The question remains open if gay liberation can survive its mainstreaming and rekindle its alliances with organized labour and progressive forces. So Denby's remarks make me mindful less of the weakness of trade unionism and more wistful for the radical roots of gay and lesbian organizing.
HOW WE GOT GAY takes us into the gay rights movement of the 21st century. Now the movement has evolved into a powerful network of disciplined, top-down, media-savvy, Ivy League-staffed organizations that know how to operate the levers of power.

These new gay organizations co-opt conventional political weapons: self-selected candidates, political action committees, black-tie fund-raisers, research institutes and lobbyists. In the words of Fred Sainz, director of Communications at the Human Rights Campaign, “we sell gay rights the way Kellogg’s sells cereal”.
And someday that "we" will include pinko economists who will provide an analysis of the value chain that brings cereal and civil rights to a spot near you.

I have hope. Tears. Laughter. And Dance. That's how I was in '85 and how I remain.

And so for day 1264